Appeals Court Delays 20-Week Abortion Ban at Least Two More Months

See also: ACLU Trying to Stop 20-Week Abortion Ban; Says "No Court Has Ever Upheld" Such a Law
See also: Federal Judge Upholds 20-Week Abortion Ban; Actually Cites Suspect Fetal-Pain Evidence

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals delayed the implementation of Arizona's law banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which was set to go into effect Thursday.

A federal district court judge ruled Monday that the law would be allowed to go into effect, but the ACLU and Center of Reproductive Rights filed an emergency to appeal to delay the implementation following the decision.

It will now be more than two months before it's known whether the law will go into effect. The ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights -- which filed the complaint on behalf of three Arizona physicians and their patients -- have until September 4 to file a brief arguing why the law is unconstitutional. The state will then need to file its response by October 3.

"We have fought to keep all medical options, including abortion, available to every woman facing devastating complications in her pregnancy, and today we have won a critical victory," Center of Reproductive Rights president Nancy Thorpe says in a statement.

U.S. District Judge James Teilborg ruled Monday that the abortion law is constitutional, citing the suspect "evidence" that was the basis of the law.

"The Arizona Legislature cited to the substantial and well-documented evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least twenty weeks gestational age," Teilborg wrote in Monday's decision.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of appeals didn't provide specific explanation of why the court granted the appeal.

"We will continue this battle now to ensure that the private and personal decisions of Arizona women are not subject to arbitrary and dangerous restrictions advanced by an extreme anti-choice agenda," Thorpe says.

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Jason Lewis
Contact: Jason Lewis